Family and Caregiver Schizophrenia Discussion Forum

Have you tried Psychotherapy

Has anyone tried psychotherapy along with traditional psychiatrist and medications?

While therapy in the traditional sense doesn’t help many people suffering from schizophrenia, anecdotally, there are people who have found it useful. The reasoning is that these are brain disorders rather than behavior issues based on past experiences. But, of course it is far more complex than a simple sentence can encompass.

Cognitive Behavior Therapy has been found to be more helpful in many cases and is often recommended.

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Thank you Hope for your answer.

You are welcome, @Maggotbrane has several postings about his work with therapy that are helpful.

I’ll add that Elyn Saks is an advocate for psychotherapy for some people with schizophrenia and writes extensively about her experiences with it in her book, “The Center Cannot Hold”. My experience is with Jungian Psychoanalysis, while Ms. Saks’ experience is with a more Freudian approach but the name of it escapes me at the moment. A certain degree of insight and cognitive functioning is likely required for productive work, but they don’t have to be perfect. CBT or LEAP style therapies may be more effective if these are lacking.

Here’s a link to Elyn Saks’ TED talk introducing her book:

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Pamela, my answer was really insufficient, my apologies. It’s a good answer for the 60% of people with schizophrenia who suffer from the symptom anosognosia. CBT can really help them learn to function better in daily life. Life skills therapy work and someone to talk to is very helpful.

@Maggotbrane’s answer is far better response than mine.

@hope no, you were fine. Good to bring up life skills therapy and percentages on anasognosia, since my diagnosis is SZA which has better odds for insight than both bipolar disorder and SZ per Dr. Amador.

In my case the non directiveness of Jungian therapy was a plus, and it functioned more like LEAP without the steep learning curve and labor intensiveness of caregiver administration. There were certainly diminished returns after the first couple of years, and a transition to a more directed behaviorism and life skills approach would have been much more cost-effective. You tend to stick with the tools you know when successful.

I was extremely lucky to blunder into therapies that worked for me. From my research and experience, finding a directed life skills therapist or CBT practitioner with experience treating schizophrenia is quite difficult in the US, because of a strong historical bias against talk therapy in favor of medication due to early misapplication of Freudian methods that appear to blame parents and especially mothers for SZ, autism and other SMIs and neurodivergencies. Pharmaceutical companies were much better at marketing than Freudian psychologists, as they offered a less labor intensive solution that didn’t blame their paying customers.

The history of stigma and outdated portrayals here are pervasive enough that people with schizophrenia with insight tend to distrust therapists and avoid talking to them, lest their words be used against them. There’s less of that in Europe and health care in general is more progressive due to less influence from Insurance companies. CBT is more commonly accepted and employed for people with SZ there, so practitioners have more experience and are thus better at its application and there’s a more ready supply of quality practitioners.

My point of view is the best therapies are those that are consistently tolerated, available and affordable. And as many therapies as feasible, since you never know what may work and there may be synergistic effects. Non directed psychotherapy ranks pretty low on this list, and although I benefited from it, it’s definitely not for everyone, or easy or particularly cost effective.

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